Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Department of Surgery

Research Opportunities with SOQIC


Fully Funded Outcomes & Health Services Research Fellowship Program through the Surgical Outcomes and Quality Improvement Center (SOQIC)

Northwestern University’s Surgical Outcomes and Quality Improvement Center (SOQIC) is offering a funded two-year onsite fellowship in surgical outcomes, health services, and health policy research for surgical residents to pursue during their research years. Applications are rolling and reviewed as they are submitted. For positions beginning July 1, 2019, applications are due by October 15, 2018. Space is available for 2 residents. 

View Application Here

*Before you complete the application form, please submit your CV to: We will review it to determine whether you are eligible for consideration before you take the time to apply.

The goal of the research fellowship is to help prepare surgical residents for a successful career in academic surgery by developing an expertise in surgical health services and outcomes research. Research fellows will spend a minimum of two years with the SOQIC research team conducting research, taking advanced degree courses, and working on developing a robust, meaningful research agenda. Research fellows will earn a Master’s or PhD degree that bests suits their needs through one of the programs offered at Northwestern. The advanced degree tuition will be fully funded. Applicants are not required to enroll in degree programs if a similar-level degree has already been achieved.

Prior fellows have had very successful research experiences including numerous presentations (e.g., American Surgical Association, American College of Surgeons), first-author publications (e.g., JAMA, Annals of Surgery), and successful grant acquisitions (e.g., NIH, American Cancer Society). The work done during the fellowship has launched very successful research careers and has helped residents secure coveted clinical fellowships, faculty positions, and funding. The SOQIC Research Fellowship is a unique opportunity that allows the surgical resident to gain firsthand experience in outcomes and health services research methodology as well as in practical quality and process improvement work. The program also prepares the Fellow for a career in academic surgery with a focus on national surgical healthcare issues. Strong preference will be given to candidates with prior research experience. One-year fellowships will not be considered. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or residents.

About SOQIC:

The Northwestern Surgical Outcomes and Quality Improvement Center is a nationally recognized multi-disciplinary research group consisting of more than 35 faculty, staff, and fellows. Our research focuses on examining the quality of care delivered across the United States and subsequently developing strategies to improve healthcare quality with national, regional, and local quality improvement research and practical initiatives. Research at SOQIC in last year led to at least 38 publications in high impact journals such as JAMA and NEJM, and many had research fellows as the first author.

Link to all SOQIC Publications on PubMed:


Current initiatives at SOQIC include:

Illinois Surgical Quality Improvement Collaborative (ISQIC)

ISQIC is a collaborative partnership of 55 hospitals, the Illinois and Metropolitan Chicago Chapters of the American College of Surgeons, the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP), Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, and the Surgical Outcomes and Quality Improvement Center (SOQIC), working together to improve the quality of surgical care through novel approaches for process and quality improvement, including cluster-randomized trials of quality improvement initiatives. For more information, please visit

Flexibility in Duty Hour Requirements for Surgical Trainees Trial –“The FIRST Trial”

The FIRST trial is a national cluster randomized trial examining resident duty hour policies. The trial involves 152 hospitals and is sponsored and jointly funded by the American Board of Surgery (ABS), the American College of Surgeons (ACS), and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). The study aims to determine whether the current restrictions on resident duty hours may be detrimental to patient care and resident training. For more information, please visit

National Quality Measurement Policy Evaluations

Venous Thromboembolism (VTE): SOQIC faculty discovered that hospital VTE rates are driven by how often imaging tests are ordered looking for VTE – “the more you look, the more you find.” Thus, the measure actually makes vigilant hospitals appear to be poor performers. The results of this landmark study resulted in US News, UHC, ACS NSQIP, and several states dropping the VTE measure from public reporting programs.

PSI-90: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid began using the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Patient Safety for Selected Indicators (PSI-90) as a core metric in 2 of its pay-for-performance programs: the Hospital-Acquired Condition (HAC) Reduction program and the Hospital Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) program.  Researchers at SOQIC have demonstrated concerns with using PSI-90 and have lobbied CMS to drop this measure from pay-for-performance programs.

Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program: CMS penalizes hospitals for high-rates of hospital acquired conditions, but SOQIC authors found that higher quality hospitals were the ones being penalized in the HAC program. Thus, considerable revisions are needed to ensure that hospitals are accurately penalized as fines frequently exceed $1,000,000.

Readmissions: CMS now penalizes hospitals with high readmission rates. SOQIC authors demonstrated why readmissions commonly occur after surgery and suggested opportunities for revising the CMS Readmission Reduction Program.


Please contact us if you have any questions:

Surgical Outcomes and Quality Improvement Center (SOQIC)
633 N. Saint Clair Street, 20th Floor
Chicago, IL 60611
Phone: 312-503-3947

Available Master’s programs at Northwestern:

  1. Master’s in Health Services and Outcomes Research
  2. Master’s in Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety (certificate program also available)
  3. Master’s in Clinical Investigation
  4. Master’s in Epidemiology and Biostatistics
  5. Master’s in Public Health
  6. Masters in Management (Kellogg School of Business) 

Surgical Outcomes and Quality Improvement Center (SOQIC)
Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University
633 N. St. Clair Street, 20th Floor
Chicago, IL 60611
Phone: 312-695-4853
Fax: 312-503-4401

SOQIC is a collaboration of:

Feinberg School, NMH, Lurie Cancer Center